Eight months ago I signed up to a veg box scheme from the Veg Box People that delivers on campus on Tuesdays. My idea, more than consuming organic veg, was to support local farmers and eat local, seasonal food. As I saw it, it was supporting a good cause and getting a bag of veg as a bonus. All these months after, I found other advantages: organic veg lasts longer in the fridge than the shop bought stuff and I actually waste less food.
So what are the boxes actually like? I receive a small box (suitable for 2 people) and this week it contains January King cabbage, leeks, onions, watercress, purple carrots and turnips. I currently have a fridge full of carrots but the nice Veg Box people have a swap box with various items so I swapped the carrots for another bag of watercress. We receive a newsletter stating the provenience of the veg and a few recipe ideas to use the produce. Most of the veg in my box are grown in Lancashire. Their veg tends to come from within 50 miles of Manchester. Sometimes, due to the lovely Manchester weather, they have to source further afield – Lincolnshire, Wiltshire, and even Northern Ireland- but they never fly anything in.
Is it good value for money? I think it is. This box alone does not cover all my needs so I still have to buy certain produce elsewhere. For example, I still need to buy tomatoes as obviously the glorious British winter is not tomato friendly. And I accept that those tomatoes are probably sourced from Spain or even Morocco. What I find more difficult to accept is that, for example in January, supermarkets are sourcing abroad what British farmers are perfectly capable of producing here like turnips or cabbage but that is a different story for another post. Similar (and by similar I mean organic or higher end produce) veg in a supermarket would probably cost about £5. I pay £8 for my veg from the Veg Box People and I see it as money well spent because:
- I can collect my box near work so it’s convenient.
- I’m supporting local farmers and a local initiative that employs local people.
- The organic veg I would get from the supermarket can actually be produced in other countries and even other continents (for example organic carrots from supermarkets can come from Israel) which is food miles mad!
- The veg are fresh, harvested the day before I receive them and they keep for longer so there is minimum waste, if any.
- There’s minimum packaging.
Would I recommend it? Definitely.
To find out more, please visit: http://vegboxpeople.org.uk/